A Wonderful Film: The African Queen

the african queen
@MALUSE (31576)
Denmark
August 9, 2017 2:29pm CST
German East African in the year 1914. The opening scene shows a tiny hamlet of straw covered mud huts. The only stone building is the Methodist church in which the English missionary Rev. Samuel Sayer (Robert Morley) is conducting the singing of the native congregation while his sister Rose (Katherine Hepburn) is mauling the reed organ. The service is interrupted when a small steamboat, the African Queen, lands and its captain, the Canadian Charlie Allnut (Humphrey Bogart) comes to the church. His task is to supply the villages along the river with whatever is necessary. He brings newspapers and letters and this time also the news that there is a war going on in Europe. He doesn’t know much more than that England is involved and the Germans, who are the Enemy, are in the country and may come to this hamlet, too. This happens indeed a short time after his departure. The Germans burn down the huts, drive away the blacks, and leave the Reverend and his sister alone in the smouldering ruins. The Reverend becomes mad and dies delirious so that Rose is the only living soul on the site. Back comes Charlie. He digs a grave, buries the Reverend and takes Rose with him. What else can he do? The film is about Charlie and Rose floating down the river full of dangerous rapids. It‘s watched over by a Germans fort, and - as if that weren’t enough - the lake into which the river flows is controlled by a German man-of-war. Charlie knows that they haven’t got a chance. Rose, naïve but stubborn, thinks there is one. The film was shot in Africa. In 1951, when the film was released, people weren’t flooded with wild life documentaries on TV and certainly loved the film also for photos of big game. It’s an adventure film and also a patriotic one but it’s really a character film. Charlie is about fifty, Rose may be ten years younger. They’re as different from each other as can be. Greater contrasts are not imaginable. Director John Huston found adequate actors in Humphrey Bogart (who won his only Oscar for his role of Charlie Allnut) and Catherine Hepburn. Bogart plays Charlie as an easy-going jack-of-all-trades, a loner who isn’t used to and doesn’t care much about the subtleties of civilisation, outspoken when necessary. “Well, I ain't sorry for you no more, ya crazy, psalm-singing, skinny old maid!“. The American (!) Katharine Hepburn is the prototypical English spinster, well-bred, proper and elaborate. When they’ve overcome a rapid, Rose exclaims, “I never dreamed that any mere physical experience could be so stimulating.” How these two learn to stand each other and eventually love each other dearly is heart-warming and a pleasure to watch. Something else is pleasing although not intended and that is a technical aspect. After all the film is 68 years old. When the river is running smoothly, the actors are seen sitting in the boat and the scene is shot in wide angle from either the bank or another boat. But when the situation becomes dangerous, they’re not in the boat but very clearly in a studio. Close up views of the actors’ faces fill the screen and the river is foaming somewhere in the background. The film takes us back to the kindergarten days of filming tricks. Highly recommended!
17 people like this
16 responses
@amadeo (45897)
• United States
9 Aug
this one of the best film.Both of the actors there were excellent.I loved this film.More people today should see this. Very highly recommended .
4 people like this
@MALUSE (31576)
• Denmark
9 Aug
Thank you! Sadly, most members here are too young and prefer horror films and sci-fi.
4 people like this
@amadeo (45897)
• United States
10 Aug
@MALUSE yes they do.they do not know what they are missing.
@Corbin5 (78261)
• United States
9 Aug
This is one movie that can be watched again and again. It really has stood the test of time.
4 people like this
@MALUSE (31576)
• Denmark
9 Aug
I agree. I've seen this film several times.
3 people like this
@xFiacre (10364)
• Ireland
9 Aug
@maluse A truly great film indeed. People often forget that Germany too was a colonial intruder in Africa along with England, France, Belgium, Portugal, Italy and Spain.
2 people like this
@MALUSE (31576)
• Denmark
10 Aug
Germans can be grateful that the era of colonialism ended after WW1. So that there wasn't this heritage to deal with, too.
1 person likes this
@Platespinner (18055)
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
9 Aug
It's a great movie...but then I love good character development!
1 person likes this
@JohnRoberts (38520)
• Los Angeles, California
9 Aug
I have seen this all time classic. Incredible chemistry between Bogie and Hepburn.
1 person likes this
@vandana7 (57182)
• India
10 Aug
Interesting story indeed, and it does sound like it would be fun to watch. :) Thanks for writing the review. :)
@MALUSE (31576)
• Denmark
10 Aug
You're welcome. Do try to get the film and watch it. You won't be disappointed!
1 person likes this
@vandana7 (57182)
• India
10 Aug
@MALUSE .. Definitely, I would try to do that. Now that I know some bit of the storyline. :) Seems interesting..
@Raelove (15048)
• Saco, Maine
11 Aug
And with good reason...this is one of my all-time favorite movies. But then again, it was made when quality still mattered.
@MALUSE (31576)
• Denmark
11 Aug
I see that you have good taste! :-)
@SHOHANA (7074)
• Bangladesh
11 Aug
i'm curious to watch the movie after seeing this post
@MALUSE (31576)
• Denmark
11 Aug
Believe me, you won't be disappointed!
@spaceseed (2925)
• India
10 Aug
I liked it
@MALUSE (31576)
• Denmark
10 Aug
I'm glad to hear that!
@LeaPea2417 (14521)
• Toccoa, Georgia
18 Aug
That is a great movie. I have seen it a couple of times.
@garymarsh6 (12103)
• United Kingdom
13 Aug
I have seen this film a few times. It is often screened on television from time to time!
@dramagirl26 (3439)
• Ringgold, Virginia
13 Aug
I've never seen The African Queen, but I heard it was a good film. I'll have to watch it one day because I love old movies.
@spaceseed (2925)
• India
10 Aug
will watch it, this week I watched "The Dress Maker" Kate winslet starrer
@celticeagle (113972)
• Boise, Idaho
9 Aug
Yes, it was a great film.The two main actors were sure in their element. I love the old films. So much more realistic I think.
@suziecat7 (3462)
• Asheville, North Carolina
9 Aug
Great movie though it's been so long since I've seen it. I will have to re-visit. Thanks for the reminder.
@thelme55 (11407)
• Germany
9 Aug
I have seen that movie in the TV years ago. It was awesome